It’s not brewed, it’s fermented! Though, if you made the mistake of referring to cider as “brewed,” Scrumpy’s owner, and head of Summit Cider Company, Jennifer Seiwald, admits she probably wouldn’t correct you. It’s a common mistake, and easy to see why: Craft cider these days is something that has found itself with craft beer at many tap houses across the state. And with all of its fizzy bubbles, many hard ciders can drink like a light, refreshing beer.
So, for this edition of The Pint, we decided it was time to take a look into this dynamic beverage and highlight popular Ft. Collins cider hangout, Scrumpy’s Cider Bar.
We asked Seiwald, Why cider? She stated, “Well, I think you pretty much have to be born in the womb making beer in this town, because there are so many excellent beers. I am also mildly allergic to hops. And I like cider better!”
But the story of Scrumpy’s and Summit Cider goes deeper than that. For most of her life, Seiwald worked in the mortgage and finance industry, and after years in the daily grind, she came to a point in her life that presented her with a few options:: (a) Continue in the mortgage business (which she knew was not something she wanted), (b) go back to school and complete her previous science background to find a job in the medical industry, or (c) put it all on the line and start a cidery.
Needless to say, she took her background in chemistry, raided her retirement account, and enrolled in cider school. In quoting New Belgium CEO Kim Jordan, Siewald says, “Visa has been very good to me.”
Over the past few years, all has proven positive. Scrumpy’s Cider bar has grown 80% since their opening in 2013 and has just recently doubled the size of their retail space, and greatly increased their cider production.
Scrumpy’s is a pub-style gathering place that serves great sandwiches and tasty eats, along with an impressive array of ciders (and beer, but mostly ciders) from around Colorado and around the world. In addition, they also serve their own brand of cider, Summit Cider. To put it in Seiwald’s words, “We’re the equal opportunity cider provider, in that we serve our own ciders, plus ciders from within the state and international ciders as well.”
Under the direction of Seiwald, Summit Cider Company offers 10-12 different cider flavors on tap at Scrumpy’s and will soon begin bottling their product for distribution to bottle shops across Colorado (Summit Cider, currently keg-distributes to Colorado tap houses). Popular flavors are blueberry lavender, strawberry basil and pineapple. Seiwald says, “Some people are completely purists, and I’m like you know what? I like all fruit,” stating, “I’m a fruit cake!”
Seiwald made sure to make it known that she sources her ingredients as locally as possible. In fact, every year, as part of their Branch Out Cider Program, Seiwald and her team source apples from the Fort Collins community.
Each harvest season, the Scrumpy’s team collects apples from neighboring apple trees from within a 15 mile radius of their shop. They collect as many high quality, clean (no pesticides), happy, healthy apples as they can. This year, over 22,000 lbs of apples were harvested.
There are no requirements for the apple variety, but Seiwald asks, “If you have an heirloom apple tree, please reach out to us!” If you are interested in becoming a part of the Branch Out Community, register your tree at www.branchoutcider.com.
Once collected, they wash, pulverize and smash their local bounty. They collect the juice, and along with specialty wine yeast, allow the non-alcoholic cider to ferment 8-10 days. After the yeast has done it’s job the cider is aged for a time period of 45-60 days. Next, the hard cider will be put on tap, ready to enjoy! In this, the cider process differs from the brewing process because there has been no added heat. It’s not brewed, it’s fermented!
This year, Scrumpy’s expects to host a Local Harvest party, featuring this season’s Branch Out Cider and expect the party will take place the first week of November. They invite all who gave their bounty, as well as anybody else interested in cider and their community. They will have live music, games, and fun for the family. Stay up to date with Scrumpy’s on facebook.com/ScrumpysHardCiderBar, and be on the lookout for special dates and releases. Cheers!